Hello, again. I've been away for a while. The trip to Mobile went ok. Traveling with two six-year-olds was a delightful challenge for this 60 year old! We saw a lot of Cracker Barrels and Mc Donalds, spent a night in a hotel with an indoor pool so we could wear 'em out swimming and listened to them watching so many DVDs I can't count--but I can recite at least four by memory!
The wedding was beautiful. The groom's brother is a lay preaching and we had a great time talking Bible together. He visited our web site, listened to a couple of messages and read all the study articles between the rehearsal (Friday) and the wedding (Saturday)! Hungry fella!
Getting home was good. We are redoing our kitchen so have no facilities to cook at the moment. So, its good that Cynthia is leaving for AZ in the a.m. I leave for the Pigeon Forge conference on Friday (she's back Saturday). Another two weeks of passing the in night.
Yesterday we were at the South-side Chicago conference. Art Johnson and the saints of Shorewood-South do an outstanding job with this meetings. An overflow group met to study all day and their eager interest was refreshing for me. Several told me, "Hey, brother Rick, you're back to being like your old self!"
We had a long day at Shorewood today. The morning meetings went well--I preached rather fervently about the choice to make Christ our "life," and was thrilled to see the joyful reception the exhortation received. Rebuking sin and reinforcing righteousness (a la Titus 2:12) in a grace way works among genuine grace believers!
The morning was followed by a church lunch and then a two hour core-group meeting followed by a wedding shower (during which I had a counseling session) and then the evening study. We had 8 visitors for the p.m. meeting! I quickly transitioned the study to teach the chart! If you listen to the I Thess. 1:5 message you'll catch on that there were newbies in attendance. They responded very positively!
After a lively "after-meeting-restaurant-fellowship," we stopped at the p.o.box on the way home. Among the mail was another flier from a brother who seems to have little to do but attach us. Its exhilarating to be "shot at" by a fella who never even gets close to hitting the target. But this one didn't ever give me an honorable mention! So it went into file thirteen. But there also was an application to GSB in the box. I'll close with a portion of the touching testimony it enclosed:
"I was painfully aware in the depths of my inner man that I had given my life to Jesus and that I needed to live 'the Christian life' as a living witness to that which I professed to believe. It wasn't until many years later, while I was in my mid-thirties, that I first heard the message of eternal salvation and really became aware of the total victory we had over sin, and the absolute and total forgiveness we had in the grace we possessed through Christ's death Calvary. When the truth of that message really hit home, I experienced the love of God in my heart and the resultant peace in my spirit for the first time in all my life. For the first time I realized it wasn't about what I did or didn't do. It was about what Christ had done. I was accepted, justified, redeemed, PERIOD!
"Still, even in the light of that knowledge, I couldn't seem to get beyond the feelings of guilt and condemnation that are brought on by what Pastor Jordan refers to as 'trying to live up to a performance based religious standard.' I earnestly began seeking God's wisdom through fervent prayer and study at that point, and then less than a year ago, I came across one of the Forgotten Truths broadcasts. I had never heard of studying the Bible dispensationally before, or of living 'the grace life' in the light of who we are in Christ. Needless to say my life 'in Christ' hasn't been the same since. So, although I am certain that the Lord Jesus Christ truly did save me at that young age, I never really walked in a victorious Christian life nor truly experienced the joy and peace that comes from the freedom I've found in the revelation of God's truth in His Word, rightly divided."